amattison on April 15th, 2015

The English Department proudly announces that our Outstanding Student for 2014-2015 is Keevan Hazel, who is graduating with a dual B.A./B.Ed. Degree in English Literature and Adolescent/Young Adult Integrated Language Arts. Keevan is an active member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, as well as Phi Kappa Phi and Kappa Delta Pi. He has received a number of competitive scholarships, including the English Department’s Edward Shapiro Scholarship. His primary interest is in teaching, in which he has shown himself to be remarkably dedicated and inventive. As a student teacher, he has taught at Arbor Hills Junior High and Anthony Wayne High School with distinction and compassion for his students; at Anthony Wayne, he also organized a peer group for student teachers to share lesson plans, ideas, and advice.

UT English major LaVelle Ridley has been competitively selected as a Research Fellow for the 2015 Schomburg-Mellon Humanities Summer Institute in New York City. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture — affiliated with the New York Public Library — is the world’s leading research center devoted to the preservation and dissemination of materials on the African and African Diasporan experience.

The purpose of the Institute is to encourage minority students and others with an interest in African-American, African, and African Diasporan Studies to pursue graduate degrees, especially PhDs, in the humanities. The program offers a seven-week session for the top ten rising seniors in the U.S. The Institute, with the help of renowned scholars, will develop and nurture the students’ interest in the appropriate disciplines, and provide them with the requisite intellectual challenges and orientations needed to pursue humanities careers and to reach their full potential.

The focus of this summer’s Institute is “The Global Black Experience in the 20th and 21st Centuries”. Participating fellows receive a $3,000 stipend and all-expenses paid travel to and housing in Harlem, where the Schomburg is located.

Guy Szuberla published an essay on “W.R. Burnett’s ‘Dressing Up’: or, ‘Ain’t I Boul’ Mich’?’”  in Midwestern Miscelllany, 42 (Fall 2014): 40-55.

Boul’ Mich does not refer to Boulevard St. Michel, Paris, but to Chicago’s Michigan Avenue.  In the twenties Chicagoans identified Boul’ Mich, the name and the place, with luxury living, high fashion, night clubs, and prohibition speakeasies.  Burnett’s short story, “Dressing Up,” tells of a Chicago gangster and his short, happy life of luxury.

admin on March 27th, 2015

Deborah Coulter-Harris has announced the names of the winners of the 2015 Shapiro Essay Contest.  The winning students are listed below with their prizes.

Name Prize Academic Rank Major
Andrea Tsatalis $500 Sophomore Biology
Ashley Teow $400 Junior Biology
Elissa L. Vaitkus $300 Sophomore Sociology/Women & Gender Studies
Jessica Mysyk $200 Sophomore Political Science/Econ.
Christina Palmiero $100 Sophomore Speech Language Pathology
Erin Bruggemann $75 Freshman Education
Ryan K. Beagle $75 Freshman Mechanical Engineering
Anthony Coushillac $75 Freshman Mechanical Engineering
Austin D. Mills $75 Sophomore Political Science
Matthew D. Goldmann $75 Freshman Computer Science and Engineering
Andrea A. Ferrao $75 Freshman Economics
Lindsay M. Mehaney $75 Junior Communication

Dr. Barbara J. McKinney, a former member of the UT English faculty, died March 9 in Denver, Colorado.  In addition to UT, she had taught at Texas A&M University, the University of Wyoming, the University of Minnesota, and the Colorado School of Mines.  Her obituary can be found here.

Two University of Toledo students presented their work at the 2015 Ray Browne Conference on Popular Culture, held on the campus of Bowling Green State University, on February 14. Their panel, The Evolution of Folklore and Legends to Pop Culture, focused on modern, cultural iterations of folkloric material. Jill Jablonski graduated with her Bachelor’s in English in 2014. She presented her paper, “Unicorns: Past, Present and in the Imagination.” Blair Donahue, currently a graduate assistant in the English Department, presented “Creating a Family-Friendly Camelot: The Transformation of Arthurian literature and Lore into the BBC’s Merlin.”

amattison on March 19th, 2015
Dr. Matthew Wikander, Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of English, gave a talk titled “Mendelssohn’s Music, Reinhardt’s Diaphanous Damsels, Shakespeare’s Fairies,” on Wednesday, March 25th, 7:30 pm, Libbey Hall, University of Toledo Main Campus — admission was free. The talk is part of the UT Arts & Humanities Festival.

“We are spirits of another sort,” the fairy king Oberon reminds Puck as Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dreamers awaken into morning. Puck has just been describing the dawn as a time when “damned spirits” return to their “wormy beds”—a kind of reverse zombie apocalypse. Oberon’s and Puck’s disagreements do not begin or end here, but this interchange raises the question of what kind of fairies the fairies in Shakespeare’s plays are, and, by extension, the further question of how to represent them. The talk focused on the problem of representing fairies musically, in Mendelssohn’s incidental score, cinematically, in Max Reinhardt’s film version of his famous stage production, and poetically, as the fairies appear in Shakespeare’s text.

admin on January 23rd, 2015
Laura DeLucia (MA English, Literature 2014) has published an article which was begun in Dr. Tom Barden’s Spring 2013 graduate seminar on Steinbeck, in the Steinbeck Review.

DeLucia, Laura.  “Positioning Steinbeck’s Automobiles: Class and Cars in The Grapes of Wrath.”  Steinbeck Review 11(2), 2014: 138-154.

Steinbeck Review is available on-line to anyone with OhioLink log-in credentials; click here.

Assistant Professor David Erben has just returned (Saturday, November 29) from a four week Fulbright Specialists project in Taganrog, Russia at Southern Federal University, where he gave workshops and lectures on American and Native American literature and culture.

Professor Erben is one of over 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialists Program. The Fulbright Specialists Program, created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post secondary, academic institutions around the world.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange activity, is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Over its 60 years of existence, thousands of U.S. faculty and professionals have taught, studied or conducted research abroad, and thousands of their counterparts from other countries have engaged in similar activities in the United States. Over 285,000 emerging leaders in their professional fields have received Fulbright awards, including individuals who later became heads of government, Nobel Prize winners, and leaders in education, business, journalism, the arts and other fields.

Recipients of Fulbright Scholar awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement. Among thousands of prominent Fulbright Scholar alumni are Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist; Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); Rita Dove, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet; and Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board of Intel Corporation. Distinguished Fulbright Specialist participants include Mahmoud Ayoub, Professor of Religion at Temple University, Heidi Hartmann, President and CEO, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Percy R. Luney, Jr. Dean and Professor, College of Law, Florida A&M University and Emily Vargas-Barone, Founder and Executive Director of the RISE Institute.

Prof. Fitzgerald delivers her FaculTea talk, “Did the Middle Ages Have Memes?”

Professor Christina Fitzgerald was the inaugural Visiting Senior Fellow at the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston Hall of Virginia Tech University from November 11 to November 14. Beginning in 2014, the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston has, each semester, invited at least one faculty member from another university to become a Visiting Senior Fellow of the Residential College (more information here: According to its mission, the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston “takes the medieval vera universitas as a model in being both a ‘true university’ and (more literally) a ‘real community.’ This vera universitas is a shared physical and intellectual space that generates its energy from the collaboration, both formal and informal, between teachers and students outside the classroom.”

During her visit, Dr. Fitzgerald attended House Dinner with the students of the Residential College, presented her research at the weekly FaculTea in the Faculty Principal’s apartment, inhabited shared office space in the building, and guest taught in a Religion and Culture course on Love. Fitzgerald’s talk at the FaculTea was called “Did the Middle Ages Have Memes,” and in Prof. Matt Gabriele’s and Prof. Aaron Ansell’s “Love” course, she led a discussion of John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 14 (“Batter my heart, three-personed God”) and the historical contexts for its erotic language to express love of god.